Minerals Council backs down on legal battle with climate group

The NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) has backed away from legal action against climate change action group Rising Tide, who are campaigning against the expansion of the coal export industry in the Hunter Region.

A website parodying a coal industry advertising campaign and critical of the climate change impacts of the coal export industry (www.miningnsw.com.au) received international attention last month when the NSW Minerals Council had the site pulled down under Australian Copyright law.

The Minerals Council failed to follow through with threats to sue Rising Tide for alleged breach of Copyright, instead sending a careful drafted letter requesting changes be made to the site.

Rising Tide has today sent a letter in response, rejecting allegations that the parody website breaches the NSW Fair Trading Act and Commonwealth copyright law, and declining to make the requested changes.

“We do not believe that our website is in breach of any law, and we have informed the Minerals Council of that today,” said Steve Phillips, spokesperson for Rising Tide.

“The NSW Minerals Council has attempted to stifle legitimate dissent on an issue of growing public importance, but appears now to have backed down and accepted our right to protest the disgraceful impacts of the NSW coal mining industry.”

“Coal mining has irreversible impacts on local and regional environments and communities in NSW, and is far-and-away our state's biggest contribution to climate change.”

Rising Tide Newcastle is currently campaigning against plans to more than double coal exports from Newcastle Harbour – the world's biggest coal port. If the plans are approved by the NSW Government, the greenhouse emissions from Newcastle coal exports will rival Australia's total domestic greenhouse pollution from all sources. The plans have the backing of both major parties in NSW.